New Coptic Hymns Institute

It is with great joy that we announce a new seminary in the Southern US Diocese! Through the grace of God, and under the auspices of HG Bishop Youssef, the Asaph Hymns Institute will begin in August 2014. This online seminary (our version of ma3had el al7an) is open to anyone in the world with a high school diploma or GED and promises to deliver the following:

  • Complete, exhaustive collection of all known and at-risk hymns for all seasons and services
  • Hymnological and liturgical history, contemporary rites, and theology (delivered in English)
  • Coptic and Greek Languages
  • Diaconate Course (historical and practical application of the rank)
All courses will be instructed completely in English and conducted online with a new mobile optimized site.
The institute will feature an annual hymns convention in Titusville, FL led by Cantor Ibrahim Ayad to administer oral exams and teach at-risk hymns (e.g. Kata Ni Khoros el Hegab, Nikhora, etc.)

Cost: $250/year (this includes the cost of the annual convention)

Feel free to ask any questions below, and I will be able to answer them!

Please remember this service in your prayers.


  • Would I be eligible if I took the high school exit exam and passed, but did not leave high school?
  • God bless your service
  • This is the most epic thing i have seen all week :)
    I just have a couple of questions
    How long does this program run for?
    Will this course be run on a yearly basis as i would love to do it once i finish school?
    God bless your service
  • @Ifahmy - Yes, you would be eligible. This seems like the equivalent of a GED.

    @BishoyK - The program is four years long with two semesters per year (Fall and Spring). 
    Each semester has the above four classes (Hymns, Rites/History/Theology, Language (Coptic 3 years Greek 1 year), Diaconate)

    The classes are taught via webinar, online assignments, online discussions, online exams. 

    And the program will continue to run for as long as God wills it :)
  • I was wondering if the diocese will record the lessons of the at-risk hymns at the hymns convention by Cantor Ibrahim Ayad?
  • Thankyou very much Tenoosht
    May God bless you and all those involved in this program
    God bless
  • This looks absolutely fantastic. God bless your efforts.
  • I don't mean to sound like a pessimist, but what exactly is "at risk hymns"? The way things are going in the Coptic Church today, "at risk hymns" are all hymns. 

    While the new hymn institute is a move in the right direction, it does nothing to address the bigger social issue. The general congregation (and many clergy) today just don't care about hymns enough to learn it themselves, nor tolerate a handful of specialized deacons who sing anything that takes more than 60 seconds, or anything that is not in English, or anything that does not have cutesy lyrics (ie, Protestant songs)

    Let's recognize the problem is bigger than just a lack of online education (assuming that an online hymn education program is even pedagogically appropriate). It would be pointless to have a perfect enrollment in an online program only to return to individual churches and not say the hymns taught in the program. And if they are said in the individual churches, it is still pointless if the congregation does not engage in the prayer. For this to work, the congregation would need to learn the hymns, the theology and the rites themselves. Really the only ideal way any hymn program would work is if the entire congregation enrolled. This would at least address the social stigma of Coptic hymns. Until then, every hymn is at risk.

    I say this to remind everyone that hymns are nothing more than a tool to communicate to God and express our part in salvation. What is at risk is not the hymns, it is the people's understanding of Orthodoxy and the Coptic flavor of Orthodoxy, it is the people's cooperation in God's salvation. I say this knowing I will likely be one of the first to sign up. 
  • I too was wondering what "at risk" means, but thank you for also mentioning the obvious importance in today's society.  I think people need an appreciation of Orthodox theology before appreciating the hymns, and so this program, while a noble effort, may only be just preaching to the choir (literally).
  • An at-risk hymn is a hymn at risk of being lost. These days, with everything being recorded, it is unlikely that a hymn become lost forever. So in this case, an "at-risk" hymn simply refers to a hymn that is not known by many and rarely chanted in the church. Some examples may be Nikhora, Teoi en Hikanos (the great), Alleluia of the Midnight, etc.).

    I do not disagree with you Remnkemi; teaching the congregation the rites, history and theology behind hymns is an important step. I do, however, believe that this is a step in the right direction for the following reasons:
    • The issue with learning the rites, history or theology in the states is that the information is not available in English. As the years progress, more and more of this information will be available. Books will be translated. Material will be posted. Etc.
    • Many priests have already enrolled, these priests can (and will most likely) educate their congregation with what they learned. After planting the seed in their congregation, God will do the rest. Those who are interested will pursue the knowledge, and those who are not will not.
    • One church has registered their entire chorus for the institute. 
    • As with most seminaries/institutes, the point is not to graduate and sit in a corner. The point is to graduate and go serve in the churches. Spread the knowledge. Those who complete the program (or even participate for a single semester) will have gained precious knowledge of the treasures of our church. They will be expected to go serve in their churches - as hymns teachers, in giving talks or meetings or sermons in the subject of Rites and Hymns, translating rite and hymns books, etc. The Lord will bless their service and multiply its fruits.
    All I ask is you pray for the service
  • Don't you think (given what you, Remnkemi, and minasoliman have said) that the number of accepted applicants should be increased by a significant amount. What is the reason for limiting the amount of students, by the way? I'm just curious, and I really don't know a whole lot about online classes.
  • May God grant you the fruits necessary for evangelical purposes of this service, in hopes that it improves our ministry to those who are having a hard time adapting to our hymns.
  • edited May 2014
    Thank you everyone for your prayers and kind words.

    @Ifahmy, the reasons for limiting the number of applicants are:
    - The first semester is the first try. There will be mistakes, and there will be bugs to crush. We'd rather catch the mistakes with fewer students than more
    - So as not to strain the teachers (too much). We would not like to overload them.
    - The yearly convention is space-limited. Once we are in the fourth year, the number of students - God willing - will be 220 (if the limit is 55 per year).

    Through the grace of God, and your prayers, the limit will be increased or removed in the coming semesters.
  • edited May 2014
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • The St. Stephen retreat center maxes out at 220 so we would love more but the retreat center accommodations are limited unfortunately
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